Portrait of Pietro Aretino, c. 1541-1560

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Italian author Pietro Aretino (1492-1556) ingratiated himself with Renaissance princes by having his portrait painted and delivered to their doorstep. According to the English art critic Roger E. Fry, he was "a professional flatterer, bully, and tout." Enea Vico gave the imposing Aretino the aspect of a Roman emperor and framed him within a medallion. In this context the grotesque elements lodged in the margin--masks, animal heads, ripe fruits and vegetables--may function like the marginalia of illuminated manuscripts; that is, as expressions of covert appetites and desires.

Portrait of Pietro Aretino
Artist Life
1523 - 1567
Accession Number
(R.E. Lewis, San Francisco). Sale, Stanford Treasure Market, Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, California, March 28-30, 2014, to Bergquist; (Joel Bergquist, Stanford, California, 2014)
Catalogue Raisonne
Curator Approved

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